We’ve seen rampant refreshing of listings this year, which is just one of the various ways that realtors toy with transparency. Another has been the resistance to realtor-rating websites. Attempts that ran into trouble:
NeighborCity, which still has anti-trust litigation pending.
Redfin’s attempt in 2011 – which lasted a week before the barrage of realtor complaints caused them to kill it.
Realtor.com abruptly cancelled their pilot program last month after major franchises logged their opposition, just two weeks after a 16-member realtor panel was named to assist with fine-tuning.
Yet, you don’t hear anyone complaining about Zillow.
They publish the sales history of agents, and client reviews. Why do they get a free pass?
The main complaint about the other realtor-rating websites was that the ‘team leader’ wouldn’t get all the credit for sales by agents underneath them.
At Zillow, the sales are manually inputted by the agents. Realtors who practice the team approach are able to distort the truth and make it look like one person, the team leader, has closed dozens, or hundreds, of sales in the last 12 months.
Hence, no complaints!
Zillow doesn’t provide disclaimers or explanations of how the sales are reported, and we know that consumers are moving quickly. Those who notice an easy way to rank agents will assume that the higher the number, the better the agent.
It is part of the realtor culture to bend the truth – beware!
Another troubling practice is selling listings prior to MLS input. Those most affected are the out-of-town sellers, the elderly, and anyone else who isn’t following the process closely. They sign the listing, and then a day or two later their agent just happens to have their own buyer, or a buyer from the same office who has made an offer. But the listing isn’t on the MLS yet, which is the only way to know if you got top dollar.
This is still being practiced by well-known realtors throughout the county. The industry allows for sellers to be denied open-market access by their own realtor who would rather make a quick buck instead. Many advertise it openly too, with signs saying ‘Pre-MLS Sale’!
In addition, we have outsiders trying to break into the real estate business by creating websites that put buyers and sellers together, off-market.
Attention sellers: It’s a fast-moving environment; it is in your best interest to ensure that your house gets on the open market – hire an honest expert!